Person-centred communication in long-term care with older people: a scoping review

Daniel Lombard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Interpersonal skills are increasingly important tools in long-term care with older people, especially against the backdrop of loneliness affecting older people and expectations for a person-centred, joined-up approach. However, the term is used as a composite and its definition lacks shape and focus. In existing literature, participants appear to be selected on the basis of specific illnesses rather than age. Better understanding of the features of everyday communication processes associated with person-centred care can lead to improvements in policy and practice.

A scoping review examined communication features associated with person-centred care for older adults. This identified the extent and nature of literature. Several databases were searched; after screening and hand-searching, 31 were included. Findings were analysed for patterns and contradictions, against the objectives of person-centred and integrated care.

Emotional intelligence and the ability to employ various communication styles are crucial skills of person-centred communication. Such approaches can have positive effects on the well-being of older people. Some studies' validity was weakened by methodological designs being founded on value judgements.

Using personalised greetings alongside verbal and non-verbal prompts to keep residents emotionally connected during personal care is considered good practice. Stimulating feedback from people using services and their relatives is important.

The role of communication is highlighted in many professional guidance documents on person-centred and integrated care, but the process of implementation is decentralised to individual employers and workers. This paper draws on the findings of contemporary literature, grounded in naturalistic data, with implications for practice and policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Integrated Care
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2021

Structured keywords

  • Ageing Futures
  • Communication


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